Reunited 2008 travel blog

At Fort, awarding of Medal in Brest, France

Train Trestle in Morlaix


The weather was cold with spotty rain all day, although it held out the two times we were at the cemetery. It poured as we toured the port of Brest, including the U-boat pens that are still intact and in the distance, the French aircraft carrier, the Charles De Gaulles. Finally, we arrived at the Memorial Des Finisteriens, a fort that was built around 1775 to support the American Revolution, although by the time the fort was completed the revolution was over; it has been used throughout the years for military storage and occupation of various armies. Today it is a museum and holds many interesting displays concerning WWII and D-Day. Goats browse the grounds since it is presumed that there are unexploded ordinances around the area and it is better to sacrifice a goat than a man with a mower.

We met the curator, an interesting gentleman that had been a volunteer at the fort for over 25 years. He told us that his father was killed in the war and his mother shot by the Germans. He awarded us a certificate and medal showing the fortifications commemorating the events. We aren't sure why we were given this honor but we gladly accepted it.

Before we left Brest, we were able to visit Monette, another sister of Jacques and Marie-Claude. She was recovering from surgery and was gracious enough to let us come to her hospital room. Having had surgery only a couple of days before, she looked really good without IVs or any other typical hospital equipment. In addition to meeting her, this was especially interesting to me as a Registered Nurse, to see how a French hospital was designed and equipped. She was to stay in the hospital for about a week, which I suppose would be about a 24-48 hour stay in the US. As opposed to what we think we know about socialized medicine, the French have about 70% hospital coverage from the government health care system that they pay into through their taxes, about 20% supplemental coverage they buy themselves and the other 10% comes from their own funds. Or at least, that was what was explained to me if I understood it correctly. The nurses actually wear white uniforms like we used to and look like nurses, which is something that American nurses are really missing out on now because they wear colored scrubs. At any rate, meeting Monette and her grandson was so interesting, since she was able to fill out the rest of Bob's story, having been a two year old when her mother found Bob on the beach long ago.

Finally, we drove back to Morlaix where Scott had forgotten his credit card at the B & B, and then on to dinner back to the same creperie where we had eaten the night before. Again, a fantastic meal with good company as the four of us reflected on the intense emotions of the days events.



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